Helping animals in the greatest medical need

Our external treatment referral fund

Each year, Gavin Tollman, CEO of The Travel Corporation (TTC) Tour Brands, makes a generous donation to a cause close to his heart as a Christmas gift to his company’s hard-working executives around the globe. In 2022, the dogs and cats of Battersea were delighted to be the beneficiaries of this generosity.

Gavin’s festive gift will fund Battersea’s External Treatment Referral Fund for 2023. Battersea’s expert veterinary team are there for every single animal that comes through our gates, whether they need the basics like flea treatment and vaccinations, more intensive treatment or surgery for existing medical issues, or emergency treatment. While the team has a wide range of expertise and experience, sometimes they see conditions so unusual that they need to call on veterinary colleagues elsewhere to help. The External Treatment Referral Fund exists to make sure that these animals with specialised needs get the medical care they desperately need so that they are ready to find new loving homes.

This fund is ever more important in light of the cost-of-living-crisis in the UK, where we are seeing more animals brought to Battersea because their owners aren’t able to pay for their expensive but essential medical treatment. We are hugely grateful for this generous donation which will make such a difference to dogs and cats in dire need.

Helping dogs like daisy

Shih Tzu puppy, Daisy, arrived at Battersea when her owners could no longer care for her. Upon her arrival, it was clear that the youngster wasn’t like other puppies and was often lethargic and refusing her food. Battersea’s team of vets soon discovered that Daisy was suffering with a severe liver condition known as a shunt, which left the puppy’s life hanging in the balance.

Head vet, Shaun Opperman, says, “After eating a meal, blood is normally filtered through the liver, the organ responsible for processing nutrients and cleaning out any toxins. But – in the case of a liver shunt – a blood vessel can bypass the liver completely, meaning it isn’t able to do its job. The condition can be repaired with very specialised veterinary surgery, although this can be risky and sadly comes with a 1 in 20 mortality rate.”

At Battersea we regularly work with other organisations to offer dogs and cats the very best care; sharing knowledge, facilities, and a dedication towards helping rescue animals. With the help from the expert team at Langford vets in Bristol, Daisy was able to have the life changing operation she needed and was soon on the mend back with her foster carer, Battersea’s head nurse, Rachel.

After months of post-op care in her foster home and on site at Battersea, Daisy was back to being a happy and healthy puppy. She was soon rehomed with a loving home and is enjoying her life to the fullest.

Helping dogs like jasmine

Playful and loving Golden Retriever puppy, Jasmine, arrived at Battersea when she was only four months old. Despite Jasmine being as lively as other puppies her age, staff immediately noticed that Jasmine was missing fur around the back of her legs and abdomen. Sadly, her lower body was also very irritated, swollen and damp.

After an initial investigation by Battersea’s clinic team, it became clear that Jasmine was unable to control her bladder. Whilst the condition didn’t cause her distress, it was important for Battersea staff to discover the cause of the issue so Jasmine could have a healthy and happy life beyond Battersea’s gates. Whilst further tests were conducted, Jasmine was given expert clinical care including application of protective cream, medicated baths and customised nappies. 

Battersea staff contacted Langford Vets, an expert veterinary referral clinic based in Bristol, to help diagnose Jasmine’s issue and explore her treatment options. Langford’s experienced team recognised that Jasmine was likely born with a faulty urinary tract and recommended that she receive surgery to help her control her bladder.

With the help of Langford vets, Jasmine underwent her life-changing surgery and was back on her feet in no time. After recovering with the support of her foster carer, Jasmine was able to control her bladder with more ease and have a better quality of life.

Once she was ready to leave Battersea’s gates for the last time, she was quickly rehomed with a new owner who was more than happy to provide a loving home for Jasmine. 

Helping dogs like nutmeg

Nutmeg was brought into Battersea at just seven weeks old, alongside her mother and siblings. Due to no fault of their own, Margot’s previous owners were no longer able to look after them. Luckily, they were brought into Battersea where staff were excited to help find homes for the adorable family.

Battersea’s expert Veterinary team gave Nutmeg a routine check-up when she first arrived and noticed that she was experiencing some discomfort around her eyes. Working with North Downs Specialist Referrals (NDSR) to share knowledge and expertise, Battersea discovered that Nutmeg had an eye condition where hair appeared to be growing inwards into her eye. To make sure she could live a long and healthy life, Nutmeg was admitted to NDSR for an expert veterinary procedure to reconstruct her eyelids.

Nutmeg was also found to have narrowed openings to her nostrils which made it difficult for her to breathe normally – a problem faced by many flat-faced dogs, like Nutmeg. As a result, she also underwent surgery to increase the opening of her nostrils. Nutmeg was very brave despite how difficult it was for her, and all her surgeries were a success.

Due to her medical complications and the fact that she was very young, Nutmeg stayed with a foster carer so she could recover and receive some basic puppy training such as lead walking and recall. Nutmeg gradually regained her strength and was making mischief for her carer in no time. Nutmeg showed herself to be a lively and friendly dog around everyone she met - she loved to be given belly rubs and play fetch when out at the park.

Nutmeg’s easy-going personality allowed her to find a new home in no time, and she soon found owners experienced with her breed and their medical needs. She has since settled into her new home where her new owners absolutely adore her.

Making a difference

Thanks to the support of generous philanthropists like Gavin, we’ve been here for every dog and cat for over 160 years. With no government funding, philanthropic support has a direct and profound impact on the ability of Battersea to be here to help the thousands of dogs and cats who find themselves in our care each year.

To find out more about how you can make a difference, contact the team at